Lou Cotroneo: The Heart and Soul of St. Paul Hockey. Lou Cotroneo, a legendary coach and mentor, left an indelible mark on the St. Paul hockey community. Known as “coach” to many, Cotroneo’s passion and dedication to the game made him a cornerstone of the sport in eastside St. Paul. With a 20-year coaching tenure at Johnson High School, including seven state tournament appearances and a decade as head coach, Cotroneo’s legacy as a coach is unparalleled. But his impact extended beyond the rink, as he also served as an assistant principal and influenced the youth and broader community. From his early days as a stick boy for the St. Paul Saints to his role as the VIP greeter for the Minnesota Wild, Cotroneo’s presence in the hockey world was felt at every level. Former U.S. Senator Norm Coleman aptly dubbed him “The Godfather of St. Paul hockey” for his influential presence. Cotroneo’s story is a testament to the power of one individual’s passion to ignite a lifelong love for the game in a community. Though St. Paul mourns his passing, his legacy lives on as the heart and soul of hockey in St. Paul. See more at Lbtokg.net website.
Lou Cotroneo: A Legacy in St. Paul Hockey
Lou Cotroneo, a name synonymous with St. Paul hockey, left an indelible mark on the community with his passion and dedication to the game. His legacy in St. Paul hockey is one that will be remembered for generations to come.
Legendary Coach and Mentor
Cotroneo’s impact as a coach cannot be overstated. With 20 years of coaching experience, including a decade as head coach, he guided the Johnson High School hockey team to seven state tournament appearances. His leadership and expertise on the ice inspired countless young athletes to reach their full potential. Cotroneo’s coaching style was not just about winning games, but about instilling values of teamwork, discipline, and perseverance in his players.
Integral Figure in St. Paul Hockey
Beyond his coaching career, Cotroneo’s influence extended far beyond the rink. As an assistant principal at Humboldt High School, he contributed to the educational system in St. Paul, shaping the lives of students both on and off the ice. His commitment to the city of St. Paul went even further, as he played a role in the administration, working to positively impact the youth and the broader community.
Cotroneo’s dedication to hockey was not limited to the amateur level. He served as a stick boy for the St. Paul Saints, a minor-league team, and later became an official in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. However, his most notable role was as the VIP greeter for the Minnesota Wild during the franchise’s early years. Cotroneo embodied the spirit of hockey in St. Paul at the professional level, leaving a lasting impression on players, fans, and the entire community.
Former U.S. Senator Norm Coleman aptly referred to Cotroneo as “the Godfather of St. Paul hockey,” recognizing his influential presence and the profound impact he had on the sport. Cotroneo’s legacy goes beyond his coaching and officiating roles; he was a mentor, a leader, and a figure who contributed greatly to the growth and development of hockey in St. Paul.
As St. Paul mourns the loss of Lou Cotroneo, they also celebrate his life and honor his legacy. He was not just an instructor; he was the heart and soul of hockey in St. Paul, inspiring a love for the game that will endure for years to come.
Johnson High School: Playing and Coaching
Johnson High School holds a special place in Lou Cotroneo’s hockey journey, as it is where he both played and coached, leaving an indelible mark on the school’s hockey program.
Backup Goaltender and Coach for Two Decades
During his time at Johnson High School, Cotroneo showcased his skills as a backup goaltender for the Governors’ state championship team in 1947. His on-ice talent and dedication to the sport translated into a remarkable coaching career at the same high school.
For an impressive two decades, Cotroneo served as a coach for the Johnson High School hockey team. His leadership and expertise guided the team to numerous successes, including seven state tournament appearances. As a coach, Cotroneo not only focused on developing the players’ skills but also instilled in them the values of sportsmanship, teamwork, and perseverance.
Cotroneo’s impact on the Johnson High School hockey program was profound, leaving a lasting legacy that continues to inspire current and future generations of players. His dedication to the sport and his ability to nurture young talent have made him a revered figure in the Johnson High School community.
Nicknamed “The Godfather of St. Paul Hockey”
Lou Cotroneo’s immense influence and contributions to St. Paul hockey earned him the well-deserved nickname “The Godfather of St. Paul Hockey.” This title speaks to his influential presence and the profound impact he had on the sport at both the amateur and professional levels.
Influential Presence in Amateur and Professional Hockey
Cotroneo’s reach in the hockey world extended far beyond the local community. He not only made a significant impact in amateur hockey but also left his mark on the professional scene.
His journey began as a stick boy for the St. Paul Saints, a minor-league team, where he immersed himself in the game and gained invaluable experience. This early exposure to the sport laid the foundation for his future endeavors.
As his passion for hockey grew, Cotroneo transitioned into officiating in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, showcasing his knowledge and expertise in the sport. His fair and unbiased approach to officiating earned him respect from players, coaches, and fans alike.
However, it was his role as the VIP greeter for the Minnesota Wild during the franchise’s first decade that truly solidified his status as a hockey icon. Cotroneo embodied the spirit of the game and became a beloved figure in the professional hockey community. His warm greetings and genuine enthusiasm for the sport endeared him to players, staff, and fans, making him an integral part of the Minnesota Wild family.
Through his involvement in both amateur and professional hockey, Cotroneo’s influential presence left a lasting impact on the sport. His dedication, passion, and unwavering commitment to hockey have forever shaped the landscape of St. Paul hockey, making him a true legend in the hockey world.
Role with the Minnesota Wild
Lou Cotroneo’s contribution to the Minnesota Wild franchise goes beyond his role as a VIP greeter. He played an integral part in shaping the team’s identity and fostering a sense of community among players, staff, and fans.
VIP Greeter for the First Decade
For the first ten years of the Minnesota Wild’s existence, Cotroneo held the esteemed position of VIP greeter. As the face of the franchise, he welcomed guests, players, and dignitaries with his warm smile and infectious enthusiasm.
Cotroneo’s role as a VIP greeter went beyond simply shaking hands and exchanging pleasantries. He made it his mission to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone who stepped foot into the arena. Whether it was a seasoned player or a wide-eyed young fan, Cotroneo treated each person with the same level of respect and genuine interest.
His interactions with players were particularly impactful. Cotroneo’s deep knowledge and love for the game allowed him to connect with the athletes on a personal level. He would share stories, offer words of encouragement, and provide a sense of comfort to those who may have been feeling the pressures of professional hockey.
Cotroneo’s presence as a VIP greeter not only added a touch of class to the Minnesota Wild organization but also created a sense of belonging for fans. His warm greetings and genuine interactions made every person feel like a valued member of the Wild family.
Even after his retirement from the position, Cotroneo’s legacy as the VIP greeter lives on. His impact on the Minnesota Wild community is still felt today, as his spirit of hospitality and love for the game continue to inspire those who follow in his footsteps.
Retirement from the Minnesota Wild
In 2009, Lou Cotroneo bid farewell to his role with the Minnesota Wild, marking the end of an era in St. Paul hockey. His retirement from the team left a void that could never be filled, as he had become an integral part of the franchise and a beloved figure in the hockey community.
Retired in 2009, as Reported by the Pioneer Press
As reported by the Pioneer Press, Cotroneo made the decision to retire from his position with the Minnesota Wild in 2009. This announcement came as a surprise to many, as Cotroneo had become synonymous with the team and had been a constant presence at games and events for the past decade.
His retirement marked the end of an era, not only for Cotroneo personally but also for the St. Paul hockey community. His warm greetings, infectious enthusiasm, and genuine love for the game had become a staple at Minnesota Wild games, and his absence would be deeply felt by players, staff, and fans alike.
Although Cotroneo’s retirement brought an end to his official role with the Minnesota Wild, his impact on the team and the broader hockey community would continue to be felt for years to come. His legacy as the VIP greeter and his unwavering dedication to the sport had left an indelible mark on the franchise and had helped shape the identity of St. Paul hockey.
While Cotroneo’s retirement may have marked the end of his official involvement with the Minnesota Wild, his spirit and passion for the game would forever remain a part of the team’s history. His contributions to the franchise and the St. Paul hockey community would be remembered and celebrated for generations to come.
Lou Cotroneo, a beloved figure in St. Paul hockey, left an enduring legacy in the community. Known as “coach,” he was a dedicated coach, mentor, and leader who made a significant impact on the sport. Cotroneo’s involvement spanned from his playing days at Johnson High School to his coaching tenure and administrative roles. He even had a role with the Minnesota Wild as the VIP greeter. Former U.S. Senator Norm Coleman aptly dubbed him “the Godfather of St. Paul hockey.” Cotroneo’s retirement in 2009 marked the end of an era, but his influence and love for the game will always be remembered.